Compared to the alligator, the American crocodile is more lizard-shaped with a long and powerful tail and a narrow, triangular snout. A tooth on either side of the bottom jaw is visible when the jaw is closed.
South Florida has an estimated population of 2,000 American crocodiles including the Everglades and Keys.
A large 12-foot crocodile can run up to 10 mph for a brief period. It can swim up to 20 mph by twisting its body and tail from side to side.
Like an alligator, a crocodile normally crawls on its belly but can also “high walk” on 4 legs.
Crocodiles are more susceptible to cold than alligators. In 45-degree water, a crocodile will shut down and drown while an alligator could survive this temperature for a longer period.
Cold intolerance is probably why crocodiles never spread as far northward as alligators (the Carolinas).
Because of over hunting, crocodiles almost disappeared from Florida. For the first time in years, they are a reliable ENP subject behind the Flamingo Marina.
The best place to see them is from a walkway in back of the marina. Mid-day is when they are almost sure to be sunning themselves on the bank opposite the marina. That’s a bit of a distance so a good telephoto is necessary.
Sometimes, however, a crocodile will swim right past you and that’s a lucky break.